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Commodities giant triples earnings

Cargill, the world's largest agricultural commodities trader, announced on 12 January that its profits for the quarter ending November tripled, which was helped by accurate predictions of the weather and shifts in trade flows.

Cargill's net earnings for the three months ending November rose to $1.49 billion from $489 million for the same period the year before. Also, first-half earnings more than doubled from $1.01 billion to $2.37 billion.

Chairman and chief executive Greg Page said in a statement: "The diversity and balance built into the mix provides the company with a great deal of resilience. By tapping the connectivity among our businesses, we also put more knowledge and insight to work on behalf of customers."

The majority of profits were reported by the company's origination and processing unit, which buys, processes and ships crops worldwide. Cargill said that the unit developed an "early and accurate read" of the weather events for the first quarter of 2010, which helped with its strong earnings.

Cargill's agricultural unit also saw a rise in earnings due to a higher volume of grains from North America. On the industrial side, Cargill's investment in the fertiliser producer, The Mosaic Company also yielded good results. The Minnesota-based company was hard hit by the credit crisis, but rebounded strongly with net earnings rising to $1 billion for the quarter ending November 2010, from $107.8 million for the same period the year before.

Cargill was founded in 1865 by William Wallace Cargill, who was later joined by his two brothers Sam and James. Still privately owned by the founding family, Cargill employs 131,000 people in 66 countries.

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